ST. LOUIS J Jaggers and Mike Pucillo, members of the Ohio State wrestling team, were crowned 2008 NCAA National Champions to give the Buckeyes their first individual national championship since 2004. Senior heavyweight J.D. Bergman was an NCAA runner-up and sophomore Lance Palmer finished eighth, giving the Buckeyes four All-Americans for the second-consecutive year. As a team, Ohio State finished second with 79 points. The second-place finish is the best standing for the Buckeyes in program history. Ohio State’s previous best was third (tie) in 2004.     

The Buckeyes never have had three finalists in the NCAA championships. In 1993, the Scarlet and Gray advanced two wrestlers to the finals in 1993 national champion and two-time All-American Rex Holman and two-time national champion and three-time All-American Kevin Randleman. Ohio State and Iowa were the only programs in the 2008 edition of the championships to qualify three finalists. 

Jaggers, a redshirt-junior, became the first 2008 champion for the Buckeyes, defeating No. 1-seed Chad Mendes of Cal Poly, 5-2, at 141 pounds. After a scoreless first period, Jaggers scored an escape early in the second to take a slim 1-0 lead. However, Mendes responded with an escape of his own in the final period to tie the score at 1-1, but Jaggers countered with a takedown with 45 seconds left and followed with a two-point nearfall at the 37-second mark to go up 5-1. Jaggers was forced to take an injury timeout with just 16 seconds remaining after suffering a leg injury and despite giving up an escape to Mendes, held on for the victory.

At 184 pounds, Pucillo, redshirt-sophomore, clinched the second-place team finish for the Buckeyes when he downed No. 1-seed Jake Varner of Iowa State on a tiebreaking riding time advantage of six seconds. In the two wrestlers’ first-ever collegiate meeting, they went scoreless after the first period. After taking the down position, Pucillo scored an escape early in the second stanza, but Varner, who was the 2007 runner-up, evened the score on an escape of his own in the third period. With the score knotted at one apiece, Pucillo and Varner went into two sudden victories and tiebreaking sessions before Pucillo won on the riding time. 

In his third matchup against Northwestern’s No. 1-seed Dustin Fox, Bergman dropped a heartbreaking 4-2 decision in the final. All three of Bergman’s losses this season have come from Fox. With the scored tied, 1-1, at the end of the third period, the match was forced into overtime. Neither wrestler could score in the sudden victory period, but each grappler tacked on an escape in both 30-second tiebreakers. It was in the second sudden victory Fox scored a takedown to win his second-consecutive national championship.

At 149 pounds, Lance Palmer became a two-time All-American Saturday. In the seventh-place matchup, Palmer dropped a 3-2 decision to No.2-seed Dustin Schlatter of Minnesota.

2008 NCAA Wrestling Championships
March 20-22
Scottrade Center
St. Louis, Mo.
Day Three Final

Team Scoring
Pl. School            Points
1.  Iowa              117.5 
2.  Ohio State        79
3.  Penn State        75
4.  Nebraska          74
5.  Iowa State        72
    Oklahoma State 
7.  Central Michigan  69
9.  Cornell           67
10. Minnesota         61.5

Individual Results
No. 6 J Jaggers (Ohio State) dec. Nexi Delgado (UC Davis) 13-10
No. 6 J Jaggers (Ohio State) dec. Drew Headlee (Pittsburgh), 7-2
No. 6 J Jaggers (Ohio State) dec. No. 3 Kellen Russell (Michigan), 5-3
No. 6 J Jaggers (Ohio State) dec. No. 2 Charles Griffin (Hofstra), 11-9
No. 6 J Jaggers (Ohio State) dec. No. 1 Chad Mendes (Cal Poly), 5-2

No. 9 Lance Palmer (Ohio State) mdec. Kyle Larson (Oregon State), 14-3
No. 9 Lance Palmer (Ohio State) mdec. No. 8 Jake Patacsil (Purdue), 14-6
No.1 Brent Metcalf (Iowa) dec. No. 9 Lance Palmer (Ohio State), 3-2
No. 9 Lance Palmer (Ohio State) mdec. Brandon Carter (Central Michigan), 11-3
No. 5 Josh Churella (Michigan) dec. No. 9 Lance Palmer (Ohio State), 6-2
No. 2 Dustin Schlatter (Minnesota) dec. No. 9 Lance Palmer (Ohio State), 3-2TB

No. 2 Mike Pucillo (Ohio State) mdec. Ian Murphy (Cal State Fullerton), 11-2
No. 2 Mike Pucillo (Ohio State) mdec. Ryan Goodman (N.C. State), 14-1
No. 2 Mike Pucillo (Ohio State) dec. No. 7 Phil Keddy (Iowa), 4-3
No. 2 Mike Pucillo (Ohio State) dec. No. 6 Raymond Jordan (Missouri), 2-1TB2
No. 2 Mike Pucillo (Ohio State) dec. No. 1 Jake Varner (Iowa State), 3-3 RT :06 

No. 2 J.D. Bergman (Ohio State) pinned Patrick Walker (Liberty), :37 seconds
No. 2 J.D. Bergman (Ohio State) dec. Joe Fendone (Edinboro), 6-3
No. 2 J.D. Bergman (Ohio State) mdec. No. 7 David Zabriskie (Iowa State), 11-1
No. 2 J.D. Bergman (Ohio State) dec. No. 3 Ed Prendergast (Navy), 5-4
No. 1 Dustin Fox (Northwestern) dec. No. 2 J.D. Bergman (Ohio State), 4-2

Match play-by-play courtesy  

Fox, Dustin 4,  Bergman, J.D.  2  Final OT 
Period 1
active had fighting dominates the first minute of the match. 
blood time for Fox.
Bergman works a front headlock, but not close to scoring.  More blood for Fox.
Bergman pushes into Fox and could’ve earned a fleeing call…no points.
Fox bleeding all over the place again.
end of 1.
Period 2
Bergman out right away as the 2nd begins.
J. Bergman E1
Fox a little more agressive in this period starts to push the pace where Bergman was before.
more blood for Fox.
Bergman works off a tie into the legs…no points.
Nice single by Bergman,… Fox gets his leg back.  Bergman back to dictating the pace.
Period 3
Fox down to begin period 3.
Fox stands, tries to gain hand control, but gets pushed out by Bergman.  Quick escape on the restart.
D. Fox E1
more blood for Fox.  Unlimited blood time so Fox in no danger of losing that way.
Fox changes level, but Bergman quickly counters.
no points.
Good action for heavyweights, but no results on the scoreboard.
Bergman shoots a nice double, but can’t finish on Fox.  Still no stall calls on either grappler.
Down under 30 seconds…SV emminent.
Half shot by Fox, but we’re going SV.
Bergman with a single, nice counter by fox…nice defense by Bergman. 
Bergman again with a head butt to Fox…more blood time. 
again more blood time…
Bergman down for first TB.
J. Bergman E1
Bergman out in 15 seconds.
More Blood for Fox.
Fox down.  Bergman has no stall calls against him.
D. Fox E1
Fox out in 5 seconds.
2nd OT SV
D. Fox T2
A single by Bergman, but he gets extended…Fox with the counter and comes around for the takedown. 
D. Fox Wins – DEC  

Pucillo, Mike  3, Varner, Jake 3    OT Final
Period 1
both wrestlers come in at a perfect 29-0 record.
nothing more than leg slaps midway through the first.
Varner charges Pucillo following him across the mat…no points…
Nice shuck by for Varner…Pucillo able to square up.
no score after 1.
Period 2
Pucillo underneath.
M. Pucillo E1
Varner reaches for an ankle pick, doesn’t follow through.  Another shuck by attempt by Varner.  no points.
This match appears it will come down to conditioning late in the 3rd period.  Varner in on a legit single leg…Pucillo able to fend it off.
Period 3
J. Varner E1
Varner out quickly.  RT not a factor…not even close.
Pucillo still yet to take an offensive attempt.  Varner with another shuckby attempt.  no points.
Varner with another shot… no points.  Pucillo now takes a shot, but Varner defends easily.
no further offense, we go to sv1.
Pucillo sees an opening, but not close to a finish on
Footsweep attempt by Pucillo not effective at all…we head to TB1.
Varner on bottom…Pucillo tries to return him to the mat, but Varner able to granby through for the escape.
J. Varner E1
Pucillo out 5 seconds quicker than Varner.
M. Pucillo E1
Pucillo nearly slides behind Varner as time winds down…can’t get control.  we head to double SV
2nd OT SV
no stall calls on either wrestler at this point.  Varner takes a shot at leg, not close to a score.
we head to the 2nd set of tie breakers.
2nd TB P1
again…Pucillo holds 5 sec lead in rt…Varner returns him back to the mat hard and continues to ride…Varner now holds 11 seconds RT advantage.
2nd TB P2
M. Pucillo E1
J. Varner E1
Pucillo holds on for dear life with Varner just about out….stalemate.  Pucillo now his RT advantage.  VArner out.
Pucillo wins with 6 seconds more of RT.
M. Pucillo Wins – DEC

Jaggers, J  5, Mendes, Chad 2   Final
Period 1
a cautious beginning to the 41 championship match.
Mendes takes a half shot…Jaggers works a front headlock…stalemate.  1 to in the 1st.
no score after 1.
Period 2
Jaggers does down. 
J. Jaggers E1
Mendes has been deadly in the top position throughout the tournament, but not in this instance.  Jaggers out in 11 seconds.
Jaggers yet to committ to a shot as the 2nd begins to wind down.
Mendes in deep on a double…no points awarded…very tough call.  end of 2.
Period 3
C. Mendes C
Mendes takes bottom and gets a caution.
Jaggers throws in the legs and begins to work for ride time.  Mendes able to get away…
C. Mendes E1
Single by Mendes…Jaggers locks through the crotch and comes around for the takedown…grabs two huge nearfall in the process.  30 ticks to go.
J. Jaggers T2
J. Jaggers NF2
Mendes does a summersault and tries to come through the back door…Jaggers knee wrenched hard in the process…injury time Jaggers. 
Jaggers limping very badly…16 seconds remain. 
C. Mendes E1
Mendes charges Jaggers, but time runs out.
J. Jaggers Wins – DEC